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Discretionary Grading Triggers
Current Discretionary Reviews
Geotechnical Review
Got Dirt
Grading Permit
Grading Complaints
How Much is 50 Cubic Yards
Types of grading Permits

The following items are potential Discretionary Grading Permit Triggers and should be considered when submitting for a grading permit:

  1. Where the average natural slope within the area to be graded exceeds 10% and the amount of excavation or fill exceeds 10,000 cubic yards;
  2. Where the average natural slope within the area to be graded exceeds 35% and the amount of excavation of fill exceeds 1,000 cubic yards;
  3. Where the proposed graded slopes exceed 40 feet in vertical height;
  4. Where the proposed grading is within a designated waterway or designated wetland.
  5. Where the proposed grading is within an area officially designated by the County as a Sensitive Ecological, Archaeological, Scenic, or Biologically Sensitive Area; or
  6. Where the total truck roundtrips per calendar day for the grading operation exceeds 10 roundtrips or the cumulative total number of truck trips exceeds 50 truck trips per calendar week. The Building Official, as a ministerial act, may allow more than 10 truck roundtrips per day provided the truck traffic is scheduled to minimize impacts to the public or private streets.

In each of the six cases listed above, the issuance or denial of a grading permit is discretionary for the purposes of Section 21080, subdivision (a), of the Public Resources Code except in the following three cases in which such issuance or denial is a ministerial act:

Where the grading permit is required by a condition imposed upon a discretionary entitlement previously approved by the County of Ventura and the effects of the grading for which the grading permit is required were addressed in an environmental document prepared and certified with respect to that previously approved entitlement;

The grading is related to oilfield operations, involving exploration, development or production of oil, and all of the following conditions are satisfied;
(a) The grading will be restricted to an area on which such oilfield operations may lawfully take place pursuant to an existing use permit for such operations issued by the County;

(b) the proposed graded slopes will be less than 40 feet in vertical height;

(c) before the grading commences, grading bonds are submitted to the Building Official guaranteeing all erosion control facilities, slope planting and slope maintenance necessary to meet then existing County standards; and

(d) within 60 days of completion of the grading, all slopes created or modified are hydromulched with a native plant and an irrigation method sufficient to ensure establishment of such plants.

The grading is related to oilfield operations, involving the exploration, development or production of oil, and is limited to one or more of the following:
(a) routine maintenance or repair of existing drill sites or existing roads which does not materially alter the location, size or configuration of the original sites or roads;

(b) routine dredging of waste materials for which a permit has been issued by the Environmental Health Division of Ventura County Resource Management Agency;

(c) maintenance of existing oilfield facilities.

 

Current Discretionary Reviews

French Ranch Discretionary Grading Permit- GP14-0014

Staff report(PDF)

Public Hearing to be held November 12, 2015 at 11:00am in the Mediterranean Conference Room (RM 331) on the 3rd floor of the Hall of Administration Building at 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura, CA 93009

Please contact Leia Reed at leia.reed@ventura.org this email address is being protected from spambots.You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (805) 658-4390 for more information.

French Ranch Agricultural Access Road

Mitigated Negative Declaration (PDF) Public Comment Period: July 8th, 2015 to August 6th, 2015

The document is available for review at the Public Works Permit Counter on the 3rdfloor of the Hall of Administration Building at800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura, Ca 93009.

Please contact Leia Reed at leia.reed@ventura.org or (805) 658-4390 for more information.

  

The geotechnical report is a tool used to communicate the site conditions and design and construction recommendations for a project site. These types of reports are typically required for any structures such as main residences, guesthouses, additions, barns, detached accessory structures etc. Such reports are also required for most site grading, retaining walls, and hillside construction.

 

Why does Ventura County require geotechnical (soils) report review?

The County of Ventura is over 2,200 square miles and with area of that magnitude, the geology and soil conditions can vary vastly. Like most regions of this size, the County has numerous faults, areas of expansive soils, areas with liquefaction, landslide potential and other geological natural hazards. The County of Ventura attempts, through geological/geotechnical review, to ensure that geotechnical design recommendations and plans meet minimum standards and acceptability, in order to reduce the exposure to geologic hazards and the damage resulting from them.

Geotechnical review by the County involves thorough review of pertinent geologic and engineering reports, maps and other information to reduce the exposure of a site or structure to such hazards, consistent with accepted standards of the geotechnical profession. Additionally, the State of California requires geotechnical review within mapped seismic (earthquake) zones. The basic responsibility for design remains with the applicant's consultants.The importance of preparing an adequate geotechnical report cannot be taken lightly. Therefore, the report should be as clear, concise, and accurate. Both an adequate site investigation and a comprehensive geotechnical report are necessary to construct a safe, cost-effective project. Engineers need these reports to conduct an adequate review of geotechnical related features, e.g., earthwork and foundations.

 

Requirments of a typical Geotechnical Report

Geotechnical Reports must comply with the County of Ventura General Plan, Goals, Policy and Programs as well as provide the information required by the Ventura County Building Code, latest Edition. The following guidelines are provided to assist in the preparation of Geotechnical Reports for Building and Grading Permits.

  1. Purpose and Scope of Study
    1. Proposed Project Description;
    2. Site Address and Assessor Parcel Number (APN)
    3. Scope of Work: ex. Geotechnical Report, Fault Investigation,
    4. Date of site inspection and person performing inspection;
    5. Job Address: Lot/Tract Number, APN (Assessor’s Parcel Number);
    6. Signature and registration number of licensed professionals; Soils Engineer, Geologist
  2. Site Conditions
    1. Location description
    2. Site Access: How is site Accessed?
    3. Site Topography including Site Maps with scale and north arrow
      1. USGS Quad Location Map
      2. Dibblee, USGS, or CGS Regional Geologic Map
      3. California Seismic Hazards, Earthquake, Landslides and Liquefaction
    4. Site Relief, steepness and heights of slopes
    5. Site Drainage Conditions and Evidence of Erosion.
    6. Geologic Hazards; faults, landslides, liquefaction, subsidence, erosion, rockfall, etc.
    7. FEMA floodplains
    8. Existing man made features.
    9. Existing improvement performance or distress.
    10. Past site uses.
    11. Adjacent Property; present use or boundary delineation, existing structures, etc.
  3. Planned Construction Parameters
    1. Type of construction
    2. Type of foundation and floor system, including setbacks.
    3. Number of stories
    4. Estimated structural loads
    5. Distance to adjacent structures and property lines
    6. Retaining wall type and surcharge loads
    7. Swimming Pool or other structures
  4. Geotechnical Data
    1. Previous Geotechnical Data, referenced reports
    2. Field Investigation
      1. Scope of field investigation, date, methods used, sampling methods and type of sample, logs of exploration (boring/test pit, etc.), elevations of explorations, method of backfilling and future requirements.
      2. Site plan showing explorations, proposed improvements, terrain and man made features, areas of geologic hazard, access to proposed improvements, cross-sections, geologic information and structural data
      3. Data on location and method used for sample collection, both surface and subsurface.
      4. Groundwater conditions, depth encountered or depth of historical high based on research source, provide source. Must demonstrate groundwater table is greater than 5 feet to lowest below grade floor level. (Sec. 1803.5.4)
    3. Laboratory Testing:
      1. Describe the laboratory testing procedures and test results. Provide graphical laboratory test results, and reference laboratory test procedures.
        1. Soil Classification ASTM
        2. Grain Size Analysis justifying soil classification ASTM
        3. Moisture content and dry density for undisturbed samples ASTM.
        4. Expansion Index (VC Building Code)
        5. Shear Strength ASTM
        6. Consolidation ASTM
        7. Corrosivity properties; sulfide-sulfate, chlorides, pH, and Resistivity.
        8. R-value
      2. Other tests to obtain material properties.
    4. Analysis
      1. Foundation design criteria
        1. Foundation type, depth, width, bearing material, installation conditions and allowable loads, lateral pressures, coefficient of friction.
        2. Estimated settlement, total, differential and rate.
        3. For Pile Foundations:
          1. Point of Fixity or Depth to Fixity from Ground Surface
          2. Downward and Upward Capacity based on Skin Friction
          3. Requirements for Restraint from all Four Directions (Sec. 1810.3.13)
          4. Moment and Shear Diagram resulting from Lateral Loads based on Embedment Depth and Soil Type
      2. Expansive Soils
      3. Pavement Design, R-value
      4. Hydrocollapse potential.
      5. Slope Stability; cross-sections, gross (static and pseudo-static) and surficial
      6. Retaining Wall, static, seismic loads for walls over 6 feet high. (Sec. 1803.5.12)
      7. CBC Seismic Analysis for Structural Design
      8. Liquefaction
      9. In accordance with California Geological Survey, SP 117
      10. Surface Displacement due to faulting or seismically induced lateral spreading
      11. Temporary Excavation Slope Stability and Shoring System Design
      12. Surface Erosion Resistance.
      13. Geologic hazards, faulting, landsliding, rockfall, as applicable
  5. Report
    1. Conclusions
    2. Geotechnical Engineering Recommendations.
    3. Foundation Design
    4. Retaining Wall Design including dynamic loads
    5. Subdrain System Design
    6. Slabs on Grade
    7. Concrete Slabs, Pavements, Permeable Pavements.
    8. Mitigation of Geologic, Geotechnical, and Flood Hazard Risks
    9. Grading Recommendations, including transition pads or other project requirements
    10. List of References

For a printable list of the Typical Requirements of a Geotechnical Report, click here.

 

Who can prepare a Geotechnical Report? Geological Report?

The appropriate preparer of an engineering geologic report is a Certified Engineering Geologist (CEG). The appropriate preparer of a soil engineering report is a registered Civil Engineer experienced in geotechnical engineering (preferably a titled Geotechnical Engineer).

 

Fees

A list of fees or deposits can be found under  "Fees & Deposit" section on the Information & Handouts page. The fees associated with a Standalone Soils Report or Geology report review is a nonrefundable processing charge.

Fees associated with a Grading Permit plancheck is included in the Grading Permit plancheck deposit. A portion of the deposit is collected to cover charges by the County Geologist. Any balance remaining in a deposit account after all billing is completed is refundable. In cases where the deposit does not cover the actual cost of services, an additional deposit amount will be requested.

 

 

GOT DIRT! 

Free Clean Debris Basins Dirt

“The Ventura County Watershed Protection District (VCWPD) is looking to clean debris basins shown on this Map in the fall of 2017.  The earth material from the debris basins should not have any man made contaminants.  If you would like to be considered as a candidate to receive earth materials from these debris basins, we are looking for nearby property owners who could take most if not all of the earth material from one or more debris basins and be close to the location where the removals will be done.  The VCWPD may be able to deliver the material to your property for no charge when it is available.  You would be required to obtain a grading permit from the Ventura County Public Works Agency for stockpiling the material on your property and then spreading and permanently placing the earth material on your property within 9 months of receiving it.  If interested, please contact Charles Cable at 805-654-2042 or email him at charles.cable@ventura.org and he will go over the details with you.”

Debris Basin Cleanout Locations

 


The Public Works Agency, in an effort to help people and businesses with their grading needs, will post on this website a list of projects that have excess dirt available and a list of projects that are in need of dirt in Ventura County.

The minimum volume of dirt needed or available that will be posted is 100 cubic yards. A dump truck can hold approximately 7 cubic yards of dirt while a double dump truck can hold 14 cubic yards. 

To post a listing of the need or excess dirt, please email the following information to raymond.gutierrez@ventura.org:

1.Using Google Earth, provide the longitude and latitude of the area where the dirt is located or needed.
2.Provide the name of the property owner and their contact information including email and a phone number.
3.Provide the Tax Assessor Parcel Number(s) of the property.
4.Provide an estimate of the area (square footage or acreage) and the volume of dirt needed or available.
5.Provide the timeframe estimate of when this project will need to start and be completed to the nearest calendar month.
6.Provide a brief reason why you need to move the dirt or need the dirt such as for agricultural purposes, road maintenance, improve site drainage, or to enhance the site for development purposes.  

The Public Works Agency will review each request and discuss the potential project with the property owner. A grading plan, geotechnical report, and grading permit may be needed. The Public Works agency may discuss with the owner other permitting agencies requirements and their contact information.

The Watershed Protection District and the Transportation Department of County of Ventura also has times where excess dirt is available from their projects. If you would like to be a recipient of their dirt, please contact raymond.gutierrez@ventura.org and provide the information in items 1 through 6 above.

 

 Why is Grading Regulated?

Grading is regulated because it can cause serious problems when not done properly and can result in damage to your property or other property or result in the deposition of sediment or debris on public right of way, private property, streams or natural water courses, or otherwise cause a nuisance. Newly exposed soil subjected to the elements of the weather can erode easily, moving from areas where you want it (e.g., on the hill behind your house) to areas where you don't want it (e.g., up against your house, in a street or natural water course, or on a neighbor's property).

If native soil underlying a new building pad is not adequately compacted or if the soil density varies too much, the building may settle and suffer structural damage. Excessive grading may cause loss of natural vegetation, accelerated erosion potential, habitat intrusion, soil instability, and visual scarring and may also damage other natural resources for years to come. Even minor grading can change the way water drains across a property, which can cause erosion problems that may affect existing drainage patterns, road access to a home or even an entire community.

A grading permit is required for all but a limited scope of earth-moving operations so that these problems can be prevented. Even when a permit is not required, you should still use great care in grading construction to preserve your own property and to protect adjoining properties and public roads. You may be asking yourself when is a grading permit required, the Ventura Building Code Appendix J provides specifics for when a grading permit is required.

 

Need to Know when a grading permit is required and what grading activities are exempt? Download the following Handout: When is a grading permit required? 

 

GRADING PERMIT CHECKLIST

For Initial Submittal and plancheck review

The following items should be included in the Grading Plan Submittal application packet:

□  DS-00 Grading Permit Checklist (PDF)

□  DS-01 Grading Permit Application  (PDF)

□  DS-02, Grading & Plancheck Processing Agreement (PDF)

□  DS-03, Authorization of Agent form, (If applicable) (PDF)

□  DS-04, Acknowledgement of Employment of Technical Consultants(PDF)

□  DS-05, Grading plan checklist for plan check (PDF)

 DS-06, Stormwater Req. New Development & Redevelopment Questionnaire (PDF)

 DS-07, Stormwater Questionnaire for Construction (PDF)

 Plan Check Deposit/Fee. 

□  Soils Report Review Fee

□  Geology Report Review Fee (If applicable) 

□  Two Copies Soils Report

□  Two Copies of Geology Report (If applicable)

□  One Copy of the Archaeological Report (If applicable)

□  Two Copies of Hydrology Report (Comply with VCBC Appendix J §J105.2)

□  Two Copies of Grading Plans – 24” x 36”Standard Grading Plan Title Sheet (PDF, DWG) and

     Standard Titleblock for remaining sheets. (PDF, DWG)

□  Off-site construction permission (If applicable) (PDF)

Stormwater Quality form(s) SW-1, SW-2, SW-HR (PDF's)

*Forms are site & design specific, fill out form DS-251 to determine the Stormwater Quality form(s) required

□  Construction Inspection Deposit.†  (Presented either at initial submittal, or prior to approval of the grading plan. Applicant is responsible for the actual cost of inspection.)

† For all fees or deposits see "Fees & Deposit" page under the Information & Handouts page.

 

Permit Issuance (Items required Prior to Permit Issuance)

  • Two Copies of the final Geotechnical Report (If not already submitted)
  • Three Sets of Grading and Drainage Plans (signed by the soils engineer, Geologist, Civil Engineer)
  • Stormwater Forms (As applicable determined by the "Questionaire for Construction" form)
  • Digital signed copies of the Geotechnical Report, Grading & drainage plans, Archaelogical Report. (May be submitted via email, Compact Disc(CD) or uploaded to an online storage site )
  • Grading Inspection Deposit

 


 A Grading Permit Application package is provided as a PDF or ZIP single download. The package includes all the forms required for an initial submittal.

 

 

Grading Violation

Information

Any significant amount of Grading within the unicorporated area of Ventura County is required to comply with the Ventura County Building Code Appendix J section. If grading work is performed and does not meet the requirements of the Ventura County Building Code then it may constitute a violation. So what constitutes a violation? Visit our When is a grading permit required? page.

Inspectors are visiting active grading permits sites all around the County and will make note of any unusual grading activity when they see it from the public right of way, however, an Inspectors reach is limited to the sites that are readily visible. For areas that inspectors can not see, we depend on the public to help spot and inform the County of any potential violations. If you notice any unusual grading or earthwork that appears to be over 50 Cubic Yards and you suspect a permit was not issued; please fill out and submit a Grading Complaint Form. Ventura County Public Works staff can tell alot from a picture and may be able to determine if a violation has occured, if at all possible, please take pictures and submit them along with your grading complaint.

To file a grading complaint, fill out a Grading Complaint Form. Please attach pictures to the form, these pictures are extremely helpful in determing if a violation has occured.

GradingComplaintFormButton

 

 

How much is 50 cubic yards?

A cubic yard is the volume of material which fits in a space one yard wide by one yard deep by one yard high. Cubic yards are typically used to measure earthwork and construction materials. There are 27 cubic feet in one cubic yard (3’ x 3’ x 3’).

To get an idea of how much dirt is in 50 cubic yards:
 

A standard short-bed pickup (6' x 4'6" x 18") will hold approximately 1.5 cubic yards.

 

The average dump truck can hold 5 cubic yards of dirt.

 Standard Short Bed  The Average Dump truck

As a general guide the chart below can be used to determine approximately how much is 50 cubic yards and the amount of coverage that can be expected for ONE cubic yard.

 
Coverage Chart
 1" Depth 324 Sq. Ft.
 2" Depth 162 Sq. Ft. 
 3" Depth 108 Sq. Ft.
 4" Depth 81 Sq. Ft.
 5" Depth 67 Sq. Ft.
 6" Depth 54 Sq. Ft.
 7" Depth 47 Sq. Ft.
 8" Depth 40 Sq. Ft.
 9" Depth  36 Sq. Ft.
 10" Depth  33 Sq. Ft.
 11" Depth  30 Sq. Ft.
 12" Depth  27 Sq. Ft.
 14" Depth  23 Sq. Ft.
 16" Depth  20 Sq. Ft.
 18" Depth  18 Sq. Ft.
 20" Depth  16 Sq. Ft.
 22" Depth  15 Sq. Ft.
 24" Depth  13 Sq. Ft.
 

 

 

Types of Grading Permits


There are different types of grading permits. Below is a summary of each type and the timeframe one can obtain the grading permit.

A grading permit is required for all earthwork that falls in one of the four categories below:

  • One of the easiest ministerial grading permits to obtain is called a “Temporary Stockpile Grading Permit.” This grading permit allows the permittee to receive and stockpile soil/dirt on their property. The owner has 9 months to spread and compact the stockpiles into their permanent location. The Public Works Agency (PWA) would need a site plan and location where the stockpiles will be placed. Erosion control is required around the base of each stockpile location. The site plan should include an erosion control plan/details. Stockpiles should be placed a minimum of 20 feet away from a neighbor’s property line and the maximum height should be about 15 feet. The side slopes should not be steeper than 2:1. The Temporary Stockpile Grading Permit will cost $2,125 as a deposit. The recommended area where the stockpiles will be placed should be under one acre otherwise a Storm Water Pollution Control Plan may be required with the State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board. A Civil Engineer is recommended to assist the property owner with erosion control but the property owner could submit such a plan on their own. The daily limit for truck deliveries importing the soil is 10 truck trips per day. Temporary Stockpile Grading Permits can generally be issued within two to five business days upon a complete application submittal.
  • An “Agricultural Grading Permit” can be easy to obtain from the PWA. Earthen reservoirs, detention basins, maintenance roads serving agriculture properties, storm drain pipes 18-inches and larger, earthen berms, slope repair, construction of small check dams under four feet tall, and import/export of soil can be performed with an Agricultural Grading Permit provided the grading and erosion control is done to service or create agriculture crops, orchards, or animal husbandry. The PWA would anticipate that fire damaged agricultural properties would use the Agricultural Grading Permit to protect their properties from severe mud and debris flows. A Civil Engineer will be required to prepare the Agricultural Grading Plan. The Agricultural Grading Permit deposit is $3,100 and covers plan check and inspection. Agricultural Grading Permits can generally be issued within three to five business days upon a complete application submittal.
  • The “Remove and Recompact (R&R) Grading Permit” is for removing at least 50 cubic yards of soil within an area where a building’s foundation will be constructed. The R&R Grading Permit can be for habitable and uninhabitable buildings or structures. Generally there is a soils report prepared by a consultant that requires the soil be removed and recompacted before the building’s foundation is built. The PWA has a template plan sheet for the R&R Grading Permit. A deposit of $1,500 is for the R&R Grading Permit and the cost for a Soils Report Review is $915. A building permit is needed for the building structure and issued by the Building and Safety Division with the Resource Management Agency. If a building was destroyed by fire, it is likely that an R&R Grading Permit could be obtained to remove and recompact the soil where the new structure will be built. R&R Grading Permits can generally be issued within two to five business days upon a complete application submittal. 
  • The “Development Grading Permit” is for the site development of property and is required to grade an access road and site improvements (including slope repair) for a permitted land use or building. There are two types of development Grading Permits – traditional and complex engineering. Traditional grading permit is for single lot grading up to 500 cubic yards of earthwork and complex grading permit is for hillside and large grading operations that exceed 500 cubic yards. A property owner/builder can prepare a traditional grading plan while a complex grading plan must be prepared by a Civil Engineer and geotechnical consultant such as a Soils Engineer and/or Engineering Geologist. If the overall disturbed area of grading is more than an acre, a Stormwater Pollution Control Plan approval is required from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. If a developed property was severely damaged by fire, it is likely that a Development Grading Permit could be obtained to regrade the lot and install erosion control to protect the property from future fire and flood damage. To help expedite these plan reviews it helps if the grading plans are 100% complete. Plan review costs will be lower and the plan check time will be reduced. A geotechnical report is done with these grading plans. Grading Permit deposits vary from $2,134 to $4,370 for plan check and $4,790 to $6,370 for inspection. Monies not expended for plan check are rolled into the inspection deposit. Charges are based on the staff hourly rate charged to perform the plan review and inspections. R&R Grading Permits can be issued within two to five business days upon a complete application submittal. Development Grading Permit generally takes 5 to 10 business days per plan check review.